16-year-old wins Rollie Hopgood Midtown Taylor 5K

The annual Rollie Hopgood Midtown Taylor 5K Run may have its youngest champion yet.

John Webb, a 16-year-old from Newport, was the overall winner in the July 10 race, finishing in 17 minutes and 15 seconds. Webb won his age group in prior years before pulling out a 31-second victory this year. He will be a senior at Monroe Jefferson High School, where he is a track and cross country standout.

Stephanie Steib, a Detroit woman who ran in high school and college in her native Pittsburgh, was the overall female champion. Steib, a 28-year-old member of the Detroit Runners Club, finished 10th overall in 19:43.

A total of 320 runners and walkers took part in the annual race, which is organized by the Downriver Runners Club and named for the late Rollie Hopgood, a former Taylor councilman, teacher and club director prior to his death in March 2002. A large share of the proceeds goes to scholarships for Taylor students.

The certified course starts on Pardee Road near the Taylor Community Library, heads north to Midtown Taylor on Goddard Road and then travels back to Heritage Park. Males and females run together.

Webb finished ahead of David Watkins, a 48-year-old Birmingham resident. Watkins, the overall male masters winner, finished in 17:46.

In third was Matt Sikora, a Harper Woods resident who won the men’s 35 to 39 age group in 17:55. Matt Selke of Westland finished fourth in 18:32. He won the men’s 40-44 age group.

The fastest Downriver runner was Aaron Moore of Taylor, who was fifth in 18:41. Moore, 17, won the Happy Soles 5K held two weeks earlier in Heritage Park. A member of the Divine Child High School track and cross country teams, Moore will soon run at Grand Valley State University.

Legendary Doug Kurtis, a Livonia resident who is in the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, was sixth in 18:49 and earned the title of male grand masters champion. Kurtis, 58, holds the world record for most career sub 2:20 marathons (76), including 12 in one year.

A five-time Olympic marathon qualifier, Kurtis has run about 200 marathons and holds the record for most marathon victories with 40. He won six straight Detroit Free Press Marathons (1987-1992) and later directed the race.

Rounding out the top 10 males in Taylor were Steven Kudla, 17, of Woodhaven, 19:13; John Tarkowski, 57, of Northville, 19:17; Shane Beauchamp, 36, of Dearborn, 19:31; and Daniel Garza, 15, of Dearborn, 19:53.

The top five female finishers were overall champion Steib, female masters champion Laura Maslar, 52, of Grosse Ile, 21:24; Sara Gdowski, 24, of Wyandotte, 21:54; Melissa Armitas, 37, of Wyandotte, 21:58; and Ella Willis, 52, of Detroit, 22:10. Willis is a three-time winner of the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

Rounding out the top 10 were Nicole Ozimek, 36, of Taylor, 22:13; female senior grand masters champ Donna Olson, 60, of Canton, 22:17; Jenny Braun, 30, of Dearborn Heights, 23:12; Jordan Powell, 14, of Taylor, 23:17; and Kirsten Chambers, 14, of Riverview, 23:32.

Walkers also are invited to enter the 5K. Gerald Wilder, 69, of Dearborn was the first registered walker to cross the finish line (in 38:06). Vilma Dennis of Royal Oak was the first female walker. The 41-year-old finished in 38:32.

Jerrold Weathers of Grosse Ile won the walk wheeler category in 26:31.

Race director Greg Everal of Taylor said the very competitive field was one of the largest in race history. The day also included a free Taylor Tot Trot and a one-mile fun run.

Sponsors of the event are the Downriver Runners, the City of Taylor and Midtown Taylor, Total Runner, Pete’s Place restaurant, Belcher Chiropractic Center and Dearborn Mid-West Conveyor.

For complete race results, visit the website http://www.everalracemgt.com/results/

-- Dave Gorgon

Newport resident John Webb crosses the finish line as the 2010 overall winner.

Stephanie Steib of Detroit was the fastest female.

Female senior grand masters winner Donna Olson (left) of Canton, grand masters winner Ella Willis of Detroit, masters winner Laura Maslar of Grosse Ile and overall winner Stephanie Steib of Detroit, plus male overall winner John Webb of Newport, masters winner David Watkins of Birmingham, grand masters winner Doug Kurtis of Livonia, senior grand masters winner Doug Soliz of Allen Park and wheeler winner Jerrold Weathers of Grosse Ile. The fastest walker was Gerald Wilder of Dearborn.

The start of the annual Rollie Hopgood Midtown Taylor 5K on Pardee Road near the Taylor Community Library.

The special guest starter was Debbie Dingell.

Hall of Fame marathoner Doug Kurtis finished sixth overall.

Famed marathoner Ella Willis (right) finished just ahead of Nicole Ozimek of Taylor and
Dan Sitarski of Trenton.

Aaron Moore of Taylor was the fastest Downriver runner in the race.
The 17-year-old finished fifth. Two weeks earlier, he won the Happy
Soles 5K to benefit the Fish and Loaves Community Food Pantry in

The Taylor Tot Trot and a one-mile fun run are two free events offered the morning of the 5K.

Taylor, Michigan